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Jacob Epstein

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Artist

The Resume

    (November 10, 1880-August 21, 1959)
    Born in New York City, New York
    Sculptor
    Became a British citizen (1911)
    Notable works include 'Ages of Man' (1907), 'The Rock Drill' (1914), 'Ecce Homo' (1935), 'Jacob and the Angel' (1941), 'Lazarus' (1948), 'Christ in Majesty' (1955), 'Liverpool Resurgent' (1956), and 'St. Michael's Victory over the Devil' (1958)
    Knighted (1954)
    Father-in-law of Lucien Freud

Why he might be annoying:

    He suffered a nervous breakdown after being drafted into the army during World War I.
    He fathered five children with other women while married to his first wife.
    The exposed genitals on his sculptures of male figures were widely considered obscene. (For example, French officials had the tomb he designed for Oscar Wilde's grave covered by a tarp for two years.)
    For years, many of his sculptures were displayed in the 'natural curiosities' section of Louis Tussaud's wax museum in Blackpool, alongside diseased body parts and cojoined twins.

Why he might not be annoying:

    He abandoned formal conventions taken from classic Greek sculpture and incorporated elements from the artistic traditions of China, India, and West Africa.
    His portrait busts -- including Paul Robeson (1928), Albert Einstein (1933), and Winston Churchill (1946) -- were praised for their 'perceptive depiction of the sitter's character.'
    He worked literally until the end -- on the last day of his life, he completed 'The Rush of Green.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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